Auguste Compte and Herbert Spencer were two of sociology's first great theorists. Both Compte and Spencer studied society and the many ways in which people in society interact. Both theorists agree on certain issues pertainning to society and social science, yet they completely differ on their views of the function of sociology.
Spencer and Compte both realize that there is an order of co-existance in society. Society itself is made up of several components and parts which are subject to change and progress, thus altering society as a whole with these changes.
With regards to the function of sociology, Compte believed that sociology was important due to the fact that it acted as a guide for people in order to make a better society. Compte saw evolution as very important and believed that every society went through three stages. These include; the theological stage, the abstract stge and the positive stage. Spencer on the other hand believed that sociology was necessary to demonstrate that people in society should not interfere with the "natural processes". Spencer's theories on evolution focused more on a different set of three basic laws. These include; the law of persistence of force, the law of the undestructibility of matter and the law of the continuity of motion.
Compte saw society in two major categories, the first was theological (military) which looked at the power of religion spiritual leaders as well as priests and those with intellectual power. The second was scientific (industrial) where there was a moral intellectual power, which included scientists and thinkers. Spencer saw society in two ways as well. The first included the movement from a simplistic society growing into a more complex one with various levels. The second was that society was changing from being more militant to industrial. Both Compte and Spencer seemed to share a common perspective on these particular views of society.
When reviewing Compte's methods, one sees...
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